Early on, it looked like the New York Rangers were going to run away with game one of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Eventually, the power of the Kings wore down the speed of the Rangers. A Dan Girardi turnover in overtime led to a point blank shot for Jusin Williams who fired it past Lundqvist to give Los Angeles a 3-2 win and a 1-0 series lead.
This is the first time this postseason the Rangers failed to win a game one, and the Kings improved to 3-0 all-time in the first game of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Game two is set for Saturday night at 7pm (4pm PT). The Kings will look to take a commanding 2-0 series lead.
In less than a 2 minute time frame near the end of the first period, the Rangers scored 2 goals using the teams trademark speed. First, Benoit Pouliot beat Jonathan Quick on a breakaway. Then 1:42 later, Carl Hagelin was sprung free during a Kings power-play. Quick made the save this time, but the puck bounced in off of Slava Voynov’s skate.
Everything changed a little over 2 minutes later. The Rangers inability to clear the pick led to a well executed give and go between Jeff Carter and Kyle Clifford who scored to cut New York’s lead to 2-1.
Drew Doughty tied the game for the Kings 6:30 into the second on a beautiful toe-drag followed by a wrister past Lundqvist.
The Kings imposed their will the rest of the way out-shooting the Rangers 20-3 in the third. Despite that, New York almost escaped with the win.
With under a minute to play in the third, Carl Hagelin sped away for another breakaway and once again, Quick was up to the task. There would be no rebound or deflection on this try.
On the ensuing Kings rush, Jeff Carter came inches away from putting LA ahead, but Lundqvist got his stick on Carter’s wraparound in the nick of time. The game went to overtime where LA would go on to win.
LA out-shot New York 43-27 on the night, out-hit New York 45-33, and had 6 takeaways to just 1 for the Rangers.
Going forward, the Rangers are going to find a way to combat the physical play of the Kings, because by the third period, LA controlled every aspect of the game.